Accommodation in japan is perhaps the most important and also the most complicated part of your move here. This would be important as you will have to decide in what part of the country and city you will reside in, and how long you will spend in each place. There are some people whose intention is to spend the entire year of visa in Tokyo while others would choose to change where they live various times during their stay. There are also those who prefer to find a cheap house for the first month and once here, learn a little more about their surroundings and choose a more ideal neighborhood to live in.

In any case its important to familiarize yourself with various concepts while dealing with your accommodation search:

  • 保証人 (Hoshounin) or Guarantor. This would be required to rent most houses. For a 2 year contract this would cost between 10,000 and 30,000 JPY or about 30 to 70% of 1 months rent.
  • 礼金(Reikin) or thank you money. This is a unique concept in Japan. It is an extra charge which will have to be paid to the land lord each time you want to renew your contract.
  • 敷金 (Shikikin) or deposit. It is a deposit made to the house owner when you move in. If you take good care of the house, this deposit will be returned to you once your contract ends.
In Japan it is usual to rent unfurnished apartments for periods for a minimum of two years. This long duration might be a problem for most of us. It is in this type of contracts that the terms mentioned above appear most frequently.

Then there are cheaper options where you can sleep, such as cyber cafes or some public baths. This would cost around 2000 JPY, and would not be recommended for long stays. During hard times and stormy weather this would be a good option.

The best option for somebody coming on a Working Holiday Visa and would like to experience living in different cities would be to rent out a shared, furnished bedroom for short periods and with all the costs included.

There are 2 main ways to find these places:


Airbnb has the advantage that you can find all types of accommodation, for short and long stays and is usually well priced. In addition, people who rent rooms on this platform almost always speak English.

A recent change in the law, since June 2018, has begun to regulate the business of tourist apartments rented by individuals. For guests, the biggest drawback of this law is perhaps the price increase and scarcity. The regulation has left many apartments off the market, limiting the maximum amount of days one can rent out their vacant apartment is 180 days per year.

Even so, it is clearly an option to consider.


There are several real estate agencies in Japan that specialize in accommodation for terms of less than one year, monthly and daily too. Renting in this way is totally legal and safe; so don’t worry, although prices tend to be a little higher. Here is a link to the best-known short-term rental companies to give you an idea.